UK & World News

  • 22 January 2014, 1:53

Fifa: Brazil World Cup Stadium Is 'Dangerous'

One of Brazil's World Cup Stadiums has been classed as "dangerous" by Fifa's Secretary General.

Jerome Valcke has given officials at the Baixada Arena in Curitiba until February 18 to present solutions for making the stadium suitable to host matches.

Mr Valcke said at a news conference: "It is a delicate situation and the stadium is not at all to our liking.

"Not only behind schedule, but not to any Fifa standard."

He has been inspecting four of the six incomplete arenas this week.

While touring construction at the Arena Pantanal on Monday, Mr Valcke said Brazil has "no choice" but to be ready to host the World Cup, which begins on June 12.

During his visit, he found grass laid only 44 days ago was patchy and that only 40 of the 40,000 chairs were in place at the Pantanal in Cuaiba.

Construction workers say the stadium is 90% complete and will be ready by the end of February.

Brazil has been building or renovating 12 football arenas at a cost of 8bn reais (2.6bn).

Six were completed for last year's Confederations Cup, but none of the other six, that were due to be finished in December, were ready on time.

It prompted Fifa president Sepp Blatter to state in a Swiss newspaper that "no country had been so far behind (at this stage)".

Mr Valcke and the Fifa delegation also checked on the progress at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo on Monday, where the World Cup will open.

The timeline for delivering this stadium was thrown into chaos in November last year when a crane accident killed two workers, halting construction for an inquiry into working conditions.

It is due to be ready on April 15, six weeks before the world watches Brazil kick off against Croatia to open the tournament there.

In a warning to Brazil's organisers Mr Valcke said: "You have to welcome 31 teams from around the world, you have to welcome the thousands of thousands of fans coming, 7,000 journalists coming from around the world. You have no choice."

He added: "So we have to work together and whatever the liquid we have in this bottle, we have to organise the World Cup with what's in the bottle."

What is in the bottle is a delayed and over-budget building programme, poor infrastructure and the potential for widespread public protests over the mounting costs of the tournament.

Nonetheless, the country's president Dilma Rousseff insists Brazil will host "the World Cup of all World Cups".

She will meet Mr Valcke on Wednesday for the opening of the Arena das Dunas in Natal before she flies to Zurich for private talks with Mr Blatter.

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